Coach of the Year alleges “bullying” culture at UK Athletics

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Monday, 11 February 2013 - Matt Packer

Man who steered Jessica Ennis to Olympic success attacks sports body’s inner workings following his redundancy, writes Matt Packer in his roundup of the weekend’s management and leadership news

Media Eye with Matt Packer

Sunday Telegraph

Toni Minichiello, former coach of Olympic star Jessica Ennis, has accused UK Athletics of operating a “bullying” culture, following the organisation’s decision last month to make him redundant. While UK Athletics attempted to ameliorate Minichiello by offering him a trimmed-down consultancy role, he rejected the proposal, saying: “I don’t want to be beaten up, and I’m fed up with being bullied.”

Minichiello was named Coach of the Year following his stewardship of Ennis towards a Gold in the London 2012 heptathlon. However, he argued, the medal win was achieved at considerable personal cost, with the coach “unable to challenge the views” of former UK Athletics boss Charles van Commenee. Nonetheless, van Commenee’s replacement Peter Eriksson has pledged that UK Athletics will continue to do all it can to support Ennis’s career.



Alarm has broken out over revelations that governments are poised to implement an “extreme-scale analytics” system called Riot for tracking people’s behaviour on social networks. Quickly dubbed “Google for spies”, Riot has been developed by Massachusetts-based defence contractor Raytheon. While the firm’s spokesman Jared Adams said that the platform’s privacy features are “the most robust that we’re aware of”, attorney Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre argued: “Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead it is being viewed by government officials or pulled in by data collection services like Riot.”



Meanwhile, leading social network Facebook has swatted aside concerns that younger users of its service are being “bombarded” by online gambling ads. Facebook’s targeted advertising features, linked to high-rolling sports stars and celebrities, have been leading children to betting sites asking them for their bank details within “a couple of clicks” of the plugs appearing on the users’ timelines. Facebook, thought, has said: “If people don’t like an ad they’re able to dismiss it.”


Independent on Sunday

London Mayor Boris Johnson has prevailed upon the city’s council chiefs to step up their actions against the urban-fox problem, in the wake of news that a one-month old baby was injured by one of the creatures after it intruded into the family home. “This must serve as a wake-up call to London’s borough leaders, who are responsible for pest control,” Johnson said. “They must come together, study the data, try to understand why this is becoming such a problem and act quickly to sort it out.”



A leading finance boss has criticised operators of large-scale savings funds for levying high charges on their clients. According to Hargreaves Lansdown founder Peter Hargreaves, “The charges are becoming more opaque. There are now things like custodian fees [and] registration fees, which are things that the fund managers used to pay, not the investors.” In his view, the charges have all the makings of a new “scandal” in the finance industry.


Mail online

Department of Health chiefs have set their sights on eradicating large buckets of fizzy drink from snack counters in the nation’s cinemas, it has emerged. They are particularly concerned about supersized cups that hold up to two pints of pop, as the effervescent liquid could contain up more than 500 calories. Plans are already afoot for next month’s Budget to introduce a tax on sugary foods. Meanwhile, the department is coordinating a summit with beverage bosses and leisure-firm leaders to push for voluntary bans.



Three-year-old Alice Amos has been inducted as the youngest new member of brainbox institution Mensa. After taking an IQ test in Russian – which is spoken in the family home – her score was pegged at 162. As well as beating Steven Hawking’s 160, she trounced the scores of historic leaders Abraham Lincoln (128), Benjamin Franklin (160) and Bill Clinton (137). Congratulations, Alice – we all look forward to working for you someday.

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